There is a group of people in Puerto Rico that some people haven’t thought about since Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Nursing home residents are often unable to evacuate like other residents, and they are often overlooked because they appear to be in a safe and secure location. However, nursing homes feel the same impacts as others during and after a hurricane. Many nursing homes in Puerto Rico are without power and trying to keep the residents who are there alive.
Heyda Ortiz was only trying to take care of her parents by taking them to a shelter before the hurricane arrived. The shelter ended up losing power as well. Her father is bedridden and needs to be able to move his bed so that he doesn’t get sores on his body. While he can be moved by his daughter and caretakers, it’s often easier to move his bed up and down. One elderly man died while he was at the shelter. There was a woman taken to a local nursing home, but there wasn’t room for anyone else to be admitted.
Mayors in Puerto Rico had pleaded for help. President Trump has sent assistance to the island, but it’s just now starting to arrive. The help could be too little too late as there are many people who have died and who are struggling to make it to the next day. Ortiz and her parents were sent to a hotel by the Mayor of Lajas so that they would have a better chance of surviving until power is restored to the island. Mayors want to help everyone, including those who are in nursing homes who rely on electricity for oxygen and other necessities, but it’s hard to get to every area of the island. Water and food delivered aren’t enough. Doctors and nurses have been given priorities over other residents, but they still can’t get the help that is needed to care for their patients. The elderly are waiting on necessities. FEMA is sending those items, but it’s a slow process.